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Comcast drops Big Ten Network from some out-of-market areas

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Finding something to replace the Michigan spring game on the schedule is suddenly the least of the Big Ten Network’s worries this week. The same could be fans of the conference who live outside the league’s footprint too.

Reports started surfacing Thursday afternoon and evening that cable giant Comcast (who, full disclosure, is the parent company of NBC Universal) had dropped BTN from its lineup in a rather unexpected move given there was no word about any potential carriage battle between the two. As it turns out, this isn’t some wild rumor spreading on social media, the company is indeed dropping BTN from certain packages outside states within the Big Ten footprint.

Straight from the Comcast corporate account:

Markets in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will continue to receive the BTN feed like normal.

While some might worry first about whether or not they’re able to watch a certain game, there is a financial aspect to this news that should not go unnoticed. Comcast pays to carry the Big Ten Network and has a different price they pony up each month for the channel depending on what market it is. The out-of-market price is significantly lower than the in-market price but, when you add it all up over 12 months a year and millions of subscribers, this is still a potentially huge hit worth millions of dollars to the bottom line of BTN and, in turn, the schools themselves.

Needless to say this does not impact other providers such as Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish, Verizon and others but this remains an issue for those who have Comcast and want to watch BTN outside Big Ten territory. Based on the states listed above, even those near Big Ten areas like Maryland fans who live in Northern Virginia or Rutgers alumni in Connecticut could also be facing some changes.

You can still likely get the channel in your area on Comcast but it may now require a change to a different package so if you’re a Buckeye in Oregon or a Wolverine in California, you might want to double-check your channel lineup after today’s news.

Kansas loses assistant coach… to the oil industry

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This might be the most Big 12 way ever to lose an assistant football coach.

According to both Rivals.com and the Lawrence Journal-World, Todd Bradford is leaving his post as Kansas’ linebackers coach.  The reason?  He’s returning to the oil business.

Bradford was fired as the defensive coordinator at Maryland in January of 2012, with that dismissal, and the health of his mother, leading to him leaving the coaching profession for a job in the oil field for the next four years.

“A guy that I was involved with and had business dealings when I was in the oil world before I was helping with my mom reached out to me,” Bradford told JayhawkSlant.com when it came to his decision-making process this time around. “He told me he had some companies that were doing really well and he needed someone to come in and help me run them. He asked if I was interested and I told him I was happy coaching.

“Then he called two more times after that and offered me the job after signing day. I turned it down twice. But each time the offer was getting a little bit better and by the third time financially it was oil world money.”

Bradford spent his first two seasons with the Jayhawks as linebackers coach.  The football program had previously confirmed that he would coach safeties in 2018.

Ex-Maryland OL coach Dave Borbely hired in same job by Pitt

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Once again, Pat Narduzzi has a full and complete coaching staff.

Pitt announced in a press release Monday that Dave Borbely has been hired as Narduzzi’s latest offensive line coach. Borbely replaces John Peterson, who spent three years overseeing the Panthers’ line before parting ways with the program last month.

Borbely comes to Pittsburgh from Maryland, where he spent the past two seasons. The 37-year coaching veteran spent his first season with the Terrapins as line coach, then served as the special assistant to head coach D.J. Durkin the second.

Borbely also has a professional tie to Narduzzi’s staff as he worked with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson when the two were at Louisville together from 2011-13. He also coached the Cardinals’ line in 2010 as well.

“After a long and detailed search, I’m really thrilled to welcome Dave Borbely as our new offensive line coach,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “We could not have hired a more experienced or qualified coach to continue our growth on the offensive front. Dave is an outstanding teacher who knows how to develop players.

“He owns a long relationship with our offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson, which will be a major strength for our coaches and players alike. Dave has a great football mind and will be a huge asset in our game planning throughout the season.”

In addition to his time at Maryland and Louisville, Borbely has also been the line coach at Virginia (2015, 2006-09), Colorado (2002-05), Notre Dame (1998-2001), Stanford (1995-97), Tulane (1992-94) and Rice (1986-88).

“I want to thank Coach Narduzzi and the Pitt staff for this opportunity,” Borbely said. “To have the chance to coach at an institution with such rich history like Pitt is a huge honor for me. Also, to have the opportunity to coach where Joe Moore started his great legacy as the best in the business is very humbling. I’m greatly looking forward to getting started.”

Maryland QB Caleb Henderson gives up playing career, will remain with team

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At this time last year, it looked like Caleb Henderson was in line to win the quarterback battle for D.J. Durkin‘s second Maryland team. A 6-foot-3 signal-caller from Burke, Va., Henderson signed with North Carolina out of high school but transferred to Maryland ahead of the 2016 season, meaning he would become eligible in 2017.

But he broke his foot in spring practice and then injured his elbow during the season, and is now hanging it up.

Henderson appeared in two games as a Terp, throwing one incomplete pass.

He will remain on with the program, but his exact role has not been determined.

Maryland adds pair of assistants, including one from Rutgers

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In filling two holes on his coaching staff, DJ Durkin turned to another Big Ten program for one of his new assistants.

Confirming reports from earlier in the day, Maryland announced that Jafar Williams (pictured, catching pass) and Dave Bucar have joined Durkin’s Terrapins football coaching staff. The former will handle running backs, while Bucar will serve as tight ends coach.

The Williams hiring amounts to a homecoming as he played his college football for the Terps and graduated from the university in 2003.  Williams played wide receiver from 2000-03 and ranks Top 20 all-time at the school in both career receptions (90) and career receiving yards (1,301). He averaged 20.07 yards per catch in 2002, which is still the third-most in the program’s history.

The past two seasons, Williams was the wide receivers coach at Big Ten East rival Rutgers.  Prior to his time at RU, Williams was the running backs coach at Purdue (2013-15) and Kent State (2012).

Bucar spent the 2017 season at LSU.  The Tigers’ offensive coordinator that season?  Matt Canada, who moved into the same job with the Terrapins after a very public divorce from the Tigers.  This will mark Bucar’s first on-field job at this level of football.

“I’m excited to welcome Jafar and Dave to our program,” said Durkin in a statement. “Jafar is a Terp and has a real passion for Maryland. He’s done an outstanding job developing players at each of his coaching stops. Dave has worked with Coach Canada at both LSU and Pitt. He has a strong football mind and our players will benefit with Dave on staff.”